Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

#YesAllWomen: on shutting up and listening

[Trigger warning: sexual violence, misogyny]

Men, we really are a miserable lot, aren’t we? Stubborn. Defensive. Unapologetic. Entitled to and possessive of all spaces, places and feelings. Overcome by an incessant need to stick our noses into all conversations to cockily stroke our fragile petulant little egos.

We don’t want to be sexist, really, but if we have to choose between helping to smash the patriarchy and dismissing feminism as a nasty ol’ gang o’ bra burnin’ meanies, we’ll choose to maintain the one that subjugates women on a daily basis. Every single time.

Because it’s all about us, innit, boys? Sure, maybe we can acknowledge that some gents ain’t so gentlemenny, but why do these snippy feminists gotta make it about each and every one us? Why they gotta generalize? Leave the kingdom of dudedom alone.

Most of us are good dudes. Like, really solid dudes, y’know? We don’t beat our ladies, we mostly don’t make crude violent sexist jokes, we never invade spaces with unsolicited attention and physical affections.

No, not us, no sir, not now, not ever.

Some of us even hold up signs and post pictures on the internet reminding each other that “Real men don’t buy girls”. We’re deep, yo. And dreamy. Deep and dreamy.

We don’t deserve to be put in the same category as sickos who maim, rape and murder. We deserve medals. And beer. And fun sexy play time. Where are our medals and beer and fun sexy play times?

Because when women start expressing their concerns and realities en masse the first thing to be done is attempt to invalidate it all by making it about us.

You clench your keys between your fingers when walk home at night? Oh, but honey, y’know, not all men, not me.

You can never leave a drink unattended at a party? Baby, don’t sweat it, not all men, not me.

You get called a bitch or a slut for attitudes and activities that men get heralded and applauded for? Oh c’mon gorgeous, it’s in your head, not all men, not me.

You try to mask your gender when driving at night by putting up your hoodie to avoid creepy creepsters following you down poorly lit roads? Oh cinnamon, you’re so silly, not all men, not me.

Boys, in the wake of yet another stupefying and devastating example of gendered violence, there is crucial discourse happening that we need to simply listen to**. I know it goes against our gendered behavioral structuring, but seriously, we need to just shut up and listen. The male “perspective” is not needed, relevant or desired.

Nothing good can, has or will ever come from the tired “not all men” song and dance. All we do when using it is poorly veil our aggressive desire to distance ourselves from the problems and refuse to acknowledge how we are complicit in sustaining the patriarchy, reinforcing misogyny and ignoring gendered social and economic injustice. Again, not useful.

We have been given spaces and platforms all our lives. And when it’s not given, we simply take it like candy cravin’ toddlers. It’s unbecoming, unnecessary and, frankly, deadly. It needs to stop.

Ready to listen, learn and unlearn? Start here:
Eliott Roger and men who hate women
Let’s call the Isla Visa killings what they were: misogynist extremism
Masculinity vs. “Misogylinity”
Because misogyny
#Yesallwomen hashtag

That’s all you need to do right now: listen, learn, unlearn. Not argue, not debate, not question. Just listen, learn, unlearn.

** Crucial conversations are congruently happening about racial based violence. We white folks need to take a seat and listen there too.